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July 6, 2013

FIU Sports Update

Three Panthers Earn All-CUSA from College Sports Madness

College Sports Madness selected Greg Hickman, Sam Miller and Kedrick Rhodes to its 2013 Preseason All-C-USA teams.

College Sports Madness has selected FIU's Greg Hickman, Sam Miller and Kedrick Rhodes to its 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA teams. Hickman, a defensive tackle, was chosen to the second-team, while Miller and Rhodes were named to the third-team.

Hickman enters his senior campaign already listed prominently in the FIU record books and is the school-record holder with 10 career quarterback hurries. He is tied for fifth with four forced fumbles and his 23 tackles for loss for 84 yards are ninth in both categories. Hickman is also the anchor of the FIU defense with 23 career starts over the past three seasons.

Miller is FIU's veteran in the defensive backfield with 15 career starts. His three career fumble recoveries tie for fourth all-time at FIU, while his 10 career pass break-ups place him 10th. In 2012, Miller finished fourth on the team with 62 tackles.
Rhodes enters 2013 already rated as FIU's all-time leader in multiple offensive categories, and is poised to overtake several others during the season. His 441 rushing attempts and eight 100-yard rushing games are a school-record. Rhodes' 13 rushing touchdowns tie for third-most and his 54 career receptions by a running back are three shy of the top mark held by A'mod Ned (57), while his 545 receiving yards are a school-record. Rhodes has accumulated 2,755 all-purpose yards, which is fifth all-time. His 15 career touchdowns also ranks fifth.

FIU fans can enjoy a great football schedule with a purchase or renewal of season tickets. 2013 season ticket information is currently available at FIUSports.com, and can be purchased or renewed by calling the FIU Athletics Ticket Office at (305) 348-GAME.

For the latest information on Panthers football, follow us on Twitter, @FIUFootball, and check out Pete Pelegrin's in-depth coverage of FIU Athletics on his official blog, The Prowl, at FIUSports.com.

FIU begins its affiliation with Conference USA in 2013, after eight seasons competing in the Sun Belt. The Panthers are slotted in the C-USA East Division along with East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss and UAB.


#WeAreCUSA: A New Era Has Begun

Conference USA Web Site I Conference USA Facebook Page I Conference USA Twitter Feed
MIAMI (July 1, 2013) - A new era in FIU Athletics has begun, as today marks the first day of the Panthers' membership in Conference USA.

FIU along with Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion and UTSA, join East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP to form the new C-USA.

From its beginning in 1995, Conference USA's dedication to excellence has been the league's guiding principle and remains a common thread today and for a promising future. Throughout the changes during the C-USA history, the conference has held onto its strong foundation that reflects the league's national presence. These 16 schools have compiled numerous athletic and academic achievements. Additionally, the C-USA footprint will grow by nearly 20 percent, while providing the geography that allows for a divisional scheduling model that will be beneficial to the student-athletes, fan-friendly and cost effective.

Conference USA sponsors competition in 20 sports - nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 11 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, softball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball).

The league sponsors numerous academic awards, including the Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Commissioner's Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom, in addition to sport specific All-Academic teams.

C-USA annually awards 12 postgraduate scholarships, along with the Sport Academic Award, Scholar Athletes of the Year and the Institutional Academic Excellence Award. Conference USA also added a Spirit of Service Award, recognizing student-athletes three times a year for a combination of significant community service efforts, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.


FIU Softball Signee Garners NFCA First Team Honors

Stephanie Texeira led Gulliver Prep to its fourth-straight state title in 2013.

FIU softball signee Stephanie Texeira wrapped up an outstanding high school career last week, as she was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) High School All-America First Team.

Texeira, who signed with FIU in November 2012, hit .588 this season, belting 17 homeruns and registering 54 RBIs for Gulliver Prep. Texeira led the Raiders to a Miami-Dade County record fourth-consecutive FHSAA 4A softball championship this season, garnering Miami Herald All-Dade First Team honors for the third-straight year, as well as Florida Softball Player of the Year and 4A Miami Herald Player of the Year recognition.

"I am very proud of Tex's achievements," said FIU Head Coach Jake Schumann, who will enter his third season at the helm in 2013-14. "She exemplifies the type of athlete we are not only recruiting, but landing. This class and the 2014 class are well-represented with talented players. Congrats to Tex; I look forward to seeing her every day in a Panther uniform."


Isame Faciane Named to Athlon's Preseason All-CUSA Team

Athlon Sports has listed FIU defensive tackle Isame Faciane on its 2013 Preseason All-Conference USA team. The senior from Slidell, La., was named to Athlon's All-C-USA second team.

Faciane enters his final campaign as the team's defensive leader with 18 career starts. Last season, he had his best game in the team's biggest game vs. then No. 18-Louisville. He had a career-high six tackles, including two tackles for loss earning him national honorable mention recognition from College Football Performance Awards. In 2012, he was voted by league coaches and media to the 2012 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team while earning unanimous preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First-Team honors from Athlon's, Blue Ribbon, CBSSports.com, Lindy's and Phil Steele.

The Athlon Sports 2013 National College Football Annual provides in-depth team-by-team previews of all 125 FBS schools, along with All-America teams, position-by-position unit rankings, a recruiting rundown, a list of this year's top preseason Heisman Trophy candidates and the new coaches on the scene in 2013.


Richard Leonard Named to CFPA Preseason Watch Lists

CFPA announced that Leonard has earned spots on Kickoff Returner and Punt Returner Trophy Watch Lists.

College Football Performance Awards has recently announced that FIU junior Richard Leonard has earned spots on the 2013 CFPA Kickoff Returner Trophy Watch List and 2013 CFPA Punt Returner Trophy Watch List.

"Congratulations to Richard Leonard on earning two spots on the 2013 CFPA Watch List," said CFPA Executive Director Brad Smith. "Leonard will be one of the nation's top return specialists to watch in 2013."

Leonard is one of only four players in the FBS to earn spots on both the 2013 CFPA Punt Returner Trophy Watch List and 2013 CFPA Kickoff Returner Trophy Watch List (joining Missouri's Marcus Murphy, Georgia Tech's Jamal Golden, and past CFPA recipient Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas).

Leonard enters the 2013 season prominently listed in the FIU football record book. His 33 kick returns for 902 yards place him at No. 4 in both categories, while his nine punt returns for 108 yards land him in the top 10. Overall, his 1,102 total return yards comes in at fifth all-time.

His breakout season returning the ball came in 2012, when he was among the conference top-rated specialists. Leonard was twice honored by CFPA as its National Returner of the Week in 2012. He was named the National Punt Returner of the Week vs. Akron on Sept. 8 and then the National Kick Returner of the Week vs. Florida Atlantic on Nov. 16.

Against Florida Atlantic, he set a school-record with a 100-yard kick return for touchdown mid-way through the third quarter that gave FIU the lead for good in a 34-24 win. In the Akron game, which FIU would win 41-38 in overtime, he had four punt returns for 66 yards, including a 49-yard punt return for touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter.

Recipients of the CFPA trophies are selected based on objective scientific rankings of the extent to which players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. All Division I football players are eligible for these awards. Over 130 CFPA recipients have singed professional contracts and 21 one of them have been first round draft picks in the NFL. The full list of 2013 CFPA recipients will be announced on January 8, 2014.

Dating back to 2008, past kick returner award and punt returner award winners for Division I FBS college football include: Patrick Peterson (LSU), Joe Adams (Arkansas), C.J. Spiller (Clemson), De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon), Andre Debose (Florida), Eric Page (Toledo), Tyrann Mathieu (LSU), Javier Arenas (Alabama), Damian Williams (USC), Fozzy Whittaker (Texas), Reggie Dunn (Utah), Giovani Bernard (UNC), Cliff Harris (Oregon), and Greg Reid (Florida State).

For more information on CFPA, visit the Official CFPA Website (http://www.collegefootballperformance.com). Follow CFPA on Twitter @CFPerformance.


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